Actor Fahmaan Khan moved to Mumbai from Bangalore in 2014 and started auditioning for acting projects. Today, he is one of the leading men of TV with a loyal fanbase. However, he admits fame has not shook his head from his shoulders. “I have paid my dues for such a long time,” he says. He was never lured by the fame but “the art of acting was what drew” him to the profession.
Khan’s first show was Kya Qasoor Hai Amla Kaa? However, landing the debut in his kitty, is quite a story for Khan to tell. “There was an eight month waiting period for that show to start. That time I was living with 17 people in one house. It was a 2.5BHK in Santa Cruz and it was 17 people. Cheeni bhi cupboard mein lock karni padti thi,” he recalls. After shooting the pilot and waiting for four months, Khan was dropped the project like a hot potato. “That was a morally depressing time. You think that you are so bad that people have to change you. I couldn’t speak to anyone. I started giving auditions again, but my mental health was not right,” he reminisces.
Luck came through for Khan in the clutch. He was offered the show again, with a hiked fee. The show gave him much fame and a bit of air. “I thought I should get lead now. I even hiked my budget. (But) I didn’t understand the norms of TV. I didn’t work for eight months after that. People kept calling me and I kept saying no. Then the name died down. Suddenly, I realised, nobody is calling me anymore, I’m not getting any work,” he shares.
One of the shows that he remembers refusing, which he admits was foolish of him, was Isha Subhan Allah. “(That) was one show I rejected, it was stupid of me to do that.” Did he refuse it due to monetary reasons and he admits, “Yeah, imagine. To look back at it, I think that just helped me understand how to go high my head. Maybe if I had accepted that, I got a hit, the success would have gone to my head and I would have screwed up a lot of more things.”
In his almost a decade long journey, Khan has met several kinds of people, a few who even tried putting their hands on him. “I’ve done modelling in my life… I’ve been through with designers, people who are like this. I know people who are very open about it (their sexuality) and very cool about it. I also have come across people who are cheesy and they make you uncomfortable,” he shares. At the beginning of his career Khan met a casting director who was taking names of popular actors and what they had to go through (hinting casting couch) to get work. “I understood what he wanted. So I asked him at the end, ‘Tell me what you want very clearly’. He told me and I said, ‘Ok, thank you. I respect you and respect that you’ve been so blunt but I’m not that kind of person’. I started walking out and that person immediately came from behind and grabbed me. He hugged me in a very uncomfortable way. So I pushed him. He said he called the cops on me. I told him it’ll take 15 minutes for the cops to come here and in the next 15 minutes, I’ll kick the shit out of you, if you touch me again,” he narrates.
Khan, however, calls, these predators “outer circle “ of the industry. “These are not the actual people who are working in this industry, who are doing well in this industry. The inner circle is quite professional,” he ends.